How to Choose a Wedding Photographer
Choosing a photographer requires a lot of research. After all, they are there to capture all of the details and special moments of your big day. However, it is not an easy task. Unlike the other vendors (flowers, music, menu) where you can rely on your senses to help you make a decision, you won’t know what you are going to get until you see the final product. Here are some helpful tips to help guide you and hopefully relieve some of the stress for you.
Figure out what kind of style you are looking for. Are you looking for Traditional (more formal and posed, where the photographer is seen as a coordinator) or Documentary (capturing the moments in order to tell a story and the photographer is mostly invisible)?
Now that you have found you style, the next step is planning out your budget. Talk with some photographers and feel free to compare packages. How many photographers will you get? How many hours are included? What sort of products do you offer?
So you have a couple of photographers whose style you love, and who fits your budget. The next step is meeting up with them. On your wedding day, your photographer will be by your side most of the time. The more comfortable you are with them, the better the images will turn out.
A couple of key questions to ask your photographer:
- Are you the photographer who will shoot my wedding? Some studios may have more than one photographer on staff. So unless you specify in your contract, the lead photographer may not be shooting your day.
- Do you have backup equipment or a backup plan if you are unable to shoot my wedding? In the unlikely event that your photographer is unable to attend, what sort of plan do they have to ensure that you are covered on your big day?
- Have you worked at my wedding venue before? If not, will you check it out in advance?
- Is it ok if others take photos while you are taking photos?
Get the post-production details.
- How long will it take before I receive my images? This is different based on each photographer and how busy they are and how much editing and post processing is involved.
- How many images will I receive? Again, it depends on your photographer. However, most professionals will not give you every image they take that day. They will cull, and remove any of the outtakes, test shots, etc. first.
- How will I receive my images? Some photographers may provide a proof book, where you can select your images. Others may provide an online gallery and charge per image. And some may give you the negatives and allow you to print them yourselves.
- What are my rights with the images? Most contracts stipulate that the photographer owns the rights to all photos taken at the wedding, even the ones of you. They can use them promotionally, submit them for publication or use them in ads. However, we understand how some brides prefer to maintain their privacy. Simply ask your photographer in regards to this. Most will respect your right to privacy. Also, unless you negotiate otherwise, if you wish to print the images yourselves or order an album from another source, you will have to buy a print release.
- Will they be retouched before I view them or only after I select my images? Some photographers will retouch all of them, and some will show you the untouched images and only retouch the ones you select. Ask about retouching options and special effects, as well as any additional cost for both.
Remember, anyone can take a good picture every now and then. But when you only have one chance to capture such a big moment, make sure there is a pro behind the camera.